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Voltaire: Travel of Candide to Constantinople

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Constantinople

The faithful Cacambo had already obtained from the Turkish patron who was to take Sultan Achmet back to Constantinople to receive Candide and Martin on board. Both of them went after they prostrated themselves before his miserable highness. Candide, on the way, said to Martin:

“There are, anyway, six dethroned kings with whom we have supped! And still in these six kings there is one to whom I have given alms. Perhaps there are many other princes more unfortunate. For my part, I have lost but a hundred sheep, and I fly in the arms of Cunegonde. My dear Martin, once again, Pangloss was right, all is well.

I wish it,” said Martin.

But, said Candide, this is a very unlikely adventure we had in Venice. It had never been seen or heard that six dethroned kings were supping together at the tavern.

It is not more extraordinary, says Martin, than most of the things that have happened to us. It is very common that kings should be dethroned; and with regard to the honor we have had to sup with them, it is a trifle which does not deserve our attention. What does it matter with whom we supper, if it is a fine dining?

Scarcely was Candide in the ship, than he jumped at the neck of his old servant, his friend Cacambo.

Well!” he said, “What does Cunegonde do? Is she still a prodigy of beauty? Does she still love me? How is she doing? You probably bought for her a palace at Constantinople?

My dear master,” replied Cacambo, “Cunégonde washes the bowls on the banks of the Propontis, at a prince who has very few bowls; she is a slave in the house of an ancient sovereign named Ragotski [Ragotski died in 1785], to whom the Grand Turk gives three crowns a day in his asylum; but which is much sadder is that she has lost her beauty, and that she has become horribly ugly.

Ah! Beautiful or ugly,” said Candide, “I am an honest man, and it is my duty to love her always. But how can she be reduced to so abject a state, with the five or six millions you had taken away?”

Well,” said Cacambo, “it was necessary for me to give two to Senor Don Fernando of Ibaraa, Figueora, Mascarenes, Lampourdos, and Souza, governor of Buenos Ayres, for permission to take back Mademoiselle Cunegonde. And a pirate bravely robbed us of all the rest. This pirate took us to Cape Matapan, to Milo, to Nicarie, to Samos, to Petra, to the Dardanelles, to Marmara, to Scutari. Cunegonde and the old woman serve at this prince of whom I have spoken, and I am a slave to the dethroned sultan.

How many terrible calamities chained to one another! said Candide. But after all, I still have some diamonds; I will easily deliver Cunegonde. It is a pity that she has become so ugly.

Then, turning to Martin:

“What do you think,” he said, “which is the most to be pitied, the Emperor Achmet, the Emperor Ivan, King Charles Edward, or me?”

I do not know,” said Martin; I would have to be in your hearts to know it.

Ah! said Candide, “if Pangloss were here, he would know, and we should learn.”

I do not know,” said Martin, “with what scales your Pangloss could have weighed the misfortunes of men, and appreciated their sorrows. All I suppose is that there are millions of men on earth a hundred times more to be pitied than King Charles Edward, the Emperor Ivan, and Sultan Achmet.

That could well be, said Candide.

In a few days they reached the canal of the Black Sea. Candide began by redeeming Cacambo, very expensive; and, without losing any time, he threw himself into a galley, with his companions, to go to the shore of the Propontis to seek Cunegonde, however ugly she might be.

There were in the cottage two convicts, who rowed very badly, and to whom the levantier patron applied from time to time a few strokes of the oxen on their bare shoulders; Candide, by a natural movement, looked at them more attentively than the other galley-slaves, and approached them with pity. Some features of their disfigured faces seemed to him to have some resemblance to Pangloss, and to that unhappy Jesuit, that baron, that brother of Miss Cunegonde. This idea moved him and saddened him. He looked at them even more carefully.

“Indeed,” he said to Cacambo, “if I had not seen Pangloss hanged, and if I had not had the misfortune to kill the baron, I should think that it was they who rowed in this galley.”

In the name of the Baron and Pangloss the two convicts uttered a loud cry, stopped on their bench, and dropped their oars. The levante patron ran up to them, and the blows of bullwhip were redoubling.

Stop! Stop!” cried Candide; I will give you as much money as you please.”

What! It is Candide! said one of the convicts;

“What! it is Candide! said the other.

Is it a dream? said Candide; I watch? Am I in this galley? Is that Monsieur le Baron, whom I killed? Is that Master Pangloss, whom I saw hanged?

It is ourselves, it is ourselves, they answered.

What! Is this the great philosopher? said Martin.

Eh! Mister levanti patron,” said Candide, “how much money do you want for the ransom of M. de Thunder-ten-tronckh, one of the first barons of the empire, and M. Pangloss, the deepest metaphysician of Germany?

“Dog of a Christian,” replied the levante patron, “since these two dogs of Christian convicts are barons and metaphysicians, which is no doubt a great dignity in their country, you will give me fifty thousand sequins.

You will have them, sir; give me a flash of lightning at Constantinople, and you will be paid instantly. But no, take me to Miss Cunegonde.

The levante patron, on the first offer of Candide, had already turned the bow towards the town, and he rowed faster than a bird splits the air. Candide embraced a hundred times the Baron and Pangloss.

And how did I not kill you, my dear Baron? And my dear Pangloss, how are you alive after being hanged? And why are you both in the galleys in Turkey?

Is it true that my dear sister is in this country? said the baron.

“Yes,” replied Cacambo.

“So I see again my dear Candide! cried Pangloss.

Candide introduced them to Martin and Cacambo. They all embraced each other; they all spoke at once. The galley was flying, they were already in the harbor. They sent for a Jew, to whom Candide sold for fifty thousand sequins a diamond worth a hundred thousand, and swore to him by Abraham that he could give no more. He immediately paid the ransom of the Baron and Pangloss. The latter threw himself at the feet of his deliverer, and bathed them with tears; the other thanked him with a nod, and promised to give him the money at the first opportunity.

But is it possible that my sister is in Turkey? he said.

Nothing is more possible,” replied Cacambo, “since she is cleaning the dishes with a prince of Transylvania.”

Two Jews were immediately brought in; Candide still sold diamonds; and they all set out again in another galley to go and deliver Cunegonde.

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